Tishta the Crystal Orb: Outline Update and Full Edit Pass

Damn, it’s been a month. I made a second pass through the outline of “Tishta the Crystal Orb” to add the point of view (POV) for each scene. So, I read the whole book again. This time, I carefully edited each scene. On the last pass, I started out thinking I should simply outline, but started editing more and more as I went through the book. That was apparent on the current pass—I made many more changes in the first half than the second.

While my focus was on finding scenes to remove that were not moving the story forward—and I did do that—I also changed a lot of text to make the verbs active. For example, “was sitting” became “sat.” An added bonus was this also reduced the word count, by onesies. Other similar edits included looking critically at prepositional phrases to ensure they were required and not just eye candy.

Adding a focus on POV helped me keep the story more in the narrator’s voice and out of people’s heads. I still go there, but more judiciously. Again, this reduced the word count as “Malcan saw Gillan draw her sword” became “Gillan drew her sword.”

On this pass, the word count dropped from 164K words to 155K. Not too bad, although my goal was, and still is, 150K. When I started editing the second draft of Tishta, the word count was 187K, so about a 20% drop. I am happy about that.

My next step will be to engage with my second set of beta readers to see who will have time over the next month to read the book. Of course, I will ask them to report any plot holes or anything that feels inauthentic, but my primary ask will be to let me know where the story feels slow and what, if anything, they think I could remove without harming the story.

On March 17, I will be taking a Hugo House course presented by Brian Callanan, with help from Wendy Terrien, “Understanding Audiobooks: A New Chapter for Writers.” If you are from the Seattle area, you might recognize Brian’s name—he has worked at Q13Fox. He is a voice over artist and can be found on Facebook at Brian Callanan Voice Over & Audiobook Narration. I am really looking forward to this class since I fully intend to record Tishta myself. If you follow my blog, you know that I record every scene. I find hearing the words is one of my best editing tools, and, I enjoy listening to my story.

When my beta readers have given their feedback, and I have recorded and listened to the story, I will make one last edit pass through the book. Then, I will be ready to share it with everyone.

I am excited to be so close to publishing. I met with an artist this week, Kaitlin Robinson, who has agreed to do the cover for me. She is the sister of a good friend, and I like that—keeping it in the family.

On a recent visit to Third Place Books, I discovered they have a small publishing press. I need to check it out to see if it will be a good option for me to create a physical book. I will have to pick the brains of some of my author friends to figure out the best approach to digital distribution. I still would like to create my own distribution page to go along with my soon-to-be-created author page. That would give me the added benefit of having something new and cool on my CV for my “real” profession, which is software development. I sometimes wish there were about six more hours in a day.

That about sums it up. I will try to post more regularly now. Let me know if you have any comments or advice for someone at this point in their first book. I would hate to miss something that would seem obvious to an author who has already been here.

Copyright ©2014-18 Ramona Ridgewell. All rights reserved.

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